While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 26

Britain to reopen thousands of shops in easing of coronavirus lockdown

Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, setting out a timetable for businesses as part of moves to ease the coronavirus lockdown.

He told a news conference that from June 1, outdoor markets and care showrooms could be reopened as soon as they are able to meet the Covid-19 secure guidelines. 

All other non-essential retail will also be allowed to restart from June 15 if the government’s tests are met.

Johnson is keen to restart an economy which has been all but shut down since Britain entered a lockdown to try to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, but also fears a second peak of infection if measures are eased too quickly.

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Joe Biden makes first public campaign stop in weeks

Former US Vice-President Joe Biden on Monday made his first campaign trip outside his Delaware home since quarantining himself due to the coronavirus pandemic 10 weeks ago, visiting a nearby veteran’s memorial to mark the Memorial Day holiday.

Biden, the prospective Democratic presidential nominee, and his wife, Jill, both wearing black masks, laid a wreath at a memorial for veterans of World War II and the Korean War.

“It feels good to be out of my house,” Biden told reporters, his speech slightly muffled by the mask.

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Dominic Cummings says he has not offered to resign; no regrets over coronavirus lockdown trip

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s closest adviser Dominic Cummings said on Monday he had not offered his resignation over the furore about his decision to drive 400km from London to northern England during Britain’s Covid-19 lockdown.

“No, I have not offered to resign. No, I have not considered it,” Cummings said in response to questions as he defended his decision to leave London during the lockdown.

Cumming said he had no reasonable childcare options because both he and his wife were seriously ill, adding that he did not regret his decision for the drive as he had not flouted lockdown rules by staying on his family’s farm.

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WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns

The World Health Organisation has suspended testing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 patients due to safety concerns, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.

Hydroxycholoroquine has been touted by US President Donald Trump and others as a possible treatment for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Trump has said he was taking the drug to help prevent infection.

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Lufthansa and German government agree $14 billion rescue package

 The German government and Lufthansa, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, have reached a preliminary deal on a €9 billion (S$14 billion) bailout.

The airline has been in talks with Berlin for weeks over aid to help it to cope with what is expected to be a protracted travel slump, but the carrier has been wrangling over how much control to yield in return for support.

The German Finance and Economy Ministries on Monday said Lufthansa was an operationally healthy company before the coronavirus outbreak, was profitable and had good prospects for the future but had got into trouble because of the pandemic.

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